Today’s edition of quick hits:
* When optics matter: “Federal agencies have been told to suspend pay raises for top Trump administration officials after an uproar from critics who said it was unseemly to reward top political appointees while hundreds of thousands of workers are going without pay during the partial government shutdown.”
* The right thing to do: “Gov. Bill Haslam (R) ordered an early release for Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman and alleged sex trafficking victim serving a life sentence in prison for killing a man when she was 16.”
* That’s unexpected: “Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, announced Monday he is resigning at the end of January.”
* The latest Pentagon departure: “Rear Adm. Kevin M. Sweeney has resigned his post as chief of staff to the United States secretary of defense, the Defense Department said Saturday.”
* This seems sensible: “Several lawmakers have declared they will decline their paycheck or will donate it to charity in solidarity with civilian workers furloughed or working without pay.”
* The Supreme Court this morning “cleared the way for the attorney general of Massachusetts to obtain records from Exxon Mobil Corp. to probe whether the oil company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.”
* And speaking of the high court: “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not at the Supreme Court on Monday, missing a courtroom argument for the first time since she became a justice 25 years ago.”
* I heard this was quite dramatic: “A federal judge on Monday defended special counsel Robert Mueller while delivering a scathing denunciation of a lawyer for a Russian company charged with meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The confrontation took place inside a Washington courtroom where Judge Dabney Friedrich scolded Eric Dubelier, the attorney for Concord Management, over a recent court filing.”
* The questions about the legality of this matter: “Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said President Donald Trump has directed his Cabinet to find government funding that could be redirected toward building a border wall.”
* I’m not sure what to make of this story: “Under pressure from the Trump administration and with President Trump dangling a White House peace ceremony, Kosovo’s president has pledged to take a major step toward resolving an escalating standoff with Balkan rival Serbia.”
* I guess former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) won’t be the next secretary of Defense after all.
* And Donald Trump this morning described American journalists he dislikes as “crazed lunatics.” I just thought I’d note this without comment.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.